Some loyalists of a former Head of State, Muhammadu Buhari, have asked a former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, to withdraw from the presidential race and support the aspiration of Mr. Buhari.
The call came on the same day a renowned Islamic Cleric, Sheik Ahmed Gumi, asked the former head of state not to contest the February 2015 presidential election.
Mr. Gumi said age was not on Mr. Buhari’s side and that other politicians were only capitalizing on his popularity to ride to power.
Both Messrs. Buhari and Atiku are currently seeking the ticket of the All Progressives Congress, APC, to run in the February 2015 presidential election.
Mr. Buhari’s loyalists, under the aegis of Buhari Vanguard, at press conference on Tuesday in Bauchi, noted that though it was Mr. Abubakar’s moral and constitutional right to run for president, the popularity, merit and unbeatable track record of the former head of state, put him in a better position to win the election.
The group said it strongly believed that there was always best among best by all standard and yardstick and that if the whole idea was to render selfless service as opposed to self-serving, the former vice president would see reason with it to step down for Mr. Buhari.
“Gen. Buhari has demonstrated his indisputable worth and merit politically in 2011 general elections, when he scored 12 million votes under his relatively new formed party of only nine months old with no single councilor, chairman, state or national assembly members, or governor to mobilize support for him,” the group said in said in a statement jointly signed by its chairman, Umar Tafida and Secretary, Abdulqadeer Musa.
“Both you (Atiku Abubakar) and Gen. Buhari have contested in 2007 with you having the advantage of contesting under a solidly structured then AC, in addition to your material muscles, yet Gen Buhari goes far ahead of you in the outcome of that result by over 5 million votes.
“Many Nigerians of northern axis, millions perhaps, believe Buhari to be their party, their politics, and the only reason why they will vote. We believe your honourable and voluntary withdrawal in favour of Buhari, will increase APC chance of winning the 2015 presidential election, and brighten your future political endeavours in the region.”
The group further argued that if election should take place between Mr. Buhari and Mr. Abubakar, the former would win with wide margin.
It said this was evident from the conduct of most of APC’s executives and delegates’ elections as well as aspirants from many states where supporters were mobilized supporters to raise funds to purchase the party’s nomination form for Mr. Buhari “for no reason other than to have sense of belonging in the stake holders of General Buhari’s ascending to presidency.”
The group recounted that a volunteer group in Bauchi last week mobilized for a grand rally in support of the former head of state and that the party’s executives as well as aspirants to different offices were either present to pledge their loyalty or sent their representatives together with monetary donations in support of Mr. Buhari.
According to the group, none of the aspirants printed their campaign posters or billboards without merging their pictures with that of Mr. Buhari while none did so with that of Mr. Abubakar.
“Sir, if saving the nation’s suffering masses from over a decade old PDP’s misrule on one hand based on genuine national interest having the wherewithal to do so is the guiding principle of your general politicking and coming to APC in particular, of which we believe it is,” the group said.
“And on the other hand if you believe indisputable worth and merit based on the unbeatable track record of conduct matters, so much of which we believe you, we are certain you will see reasons in our call.”
The group also said it welcomed the “selfless gesture portrayed by one of our party leaders Bukola Saraki, for withdrawing his presidential bid to save the party from the disputes and parity usually caused by primary election.”
It also commended the Kano State governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso for suggesting that the APC leadership should adopt one of the constitutional provisions of the party to choose a consensus candidate for the presidential election because of the dangers posed by primary elections.